Griffin Rivers, the former chairman of the Ingham County Democratic Party, announced Tuesday he was running for the open 68th House District seat being vacated by term-limited Rep. Joan Bauer, D-Lansing, at the end of the year.

Rivers, 72, announced his candidacy at a Gone Wired Café event in front of about 30 people, including Lansing City Councilwoman Carol Wood, former Lansing Mayor Tony Benavides and former Rep. Michael Murphy.

“This is my home,” Rivers said. “I care about Lansing and the Lansing area. I feel like I am the best-qualified candidate for this position.

“I will bring my experience, leadership and commitment as a strong, effective voice for the citizens of the 68th District,” he continued. “Over the next several months I will be looking, listening and learning more about the pressing concerns about issues which voters care most about.”

Rivers was the chief of staff of former House Appropriations Committee Chairman George Cushingberry. He’s also served as the executive director of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus and an administrator with the Department of Corrections.

A Mobile, Ala., native, Rivers served in the Vietnam War and as the deputy director of the state of Louisiana’s corrections department. 

Tuesday’s announcement is the first formally declared opponent to Ingham County Commissioner Andy Schor, who is also seeking the post. The Lansing-based 68th District has a 73 percent Democratic base, meaning the winner of the Aug. 7 primary is all but assured victory in November.

The married father of five children and five grandchildren, Rivers said state government has been disinvesting in education and public safety and that has to stop. He said too much is being given away to businesses in the form of tax credits and it’s taking money away from the types of investments that would educate children and head off crime.

Benavides described Rivers as having the “fire in the belly” and the time to “do what needs to be done” to win the August Democratic primary.

“Griffin Rivers will be a voice of reason and an effective legislator for the people of Lansing,” Benevides said. “Because of term limits, we need Griffin Rivers with his wealth of experience and knowledge in the Michigan Legislature to get the job done for the 68th District.”

Rivers’ campaign has a website: